Rs. 1,890 crore scam surfaces, EOW probe sought
The state panchayati raj department has unearthed large-scale financial irregularities in implementation of the backward regions grant fund (BRGF) during the last few years. Since the preliminary inquiry indicated misappropriation of nearly Rs. 1,890 crore, the department has sought a probe by the economic offences wing (EOW) into the issue.
Principal secretary (Home) RM Shrivastav told HT the department had received such a recommendation from the panchayati raj department and it was being examined.
Sources said there was rampant corruption in various projects under the scheme for which funds were provided by the centre over the years. The centre had launched the scheme in 2003-04. Forty-five backward districts were among the 250 districts selected from all over the country for correcting the regional imbalance.
The sources also said between 2003 and 2010, each selected district was provided with Rs. 45 crore. Under development grants these districts were collectively provided with Rs. 541 crore (2008-09), Rs. 559 crore (2009-10), Rs. 640 crore (2010-11) and Rs. 528 crore (2011-12).
During the current fiscal, the centre has allocated Rs. 655.08 crore for the scheme. Panchayatii raj minister Balram Yadav has also summoned a conference of the officers on Friday to review the scheme and chalk out an action plan.
The BRGF was designed to correct regional imbalances. The fund was provided over the years for supplementing and converging existing developmental inflows into 34 districts in the state. The project was aimed at bridging critical gaps in local infrastructure and other development requirements, which were not being adequately met through existing inflow of funds.Apart from construction work under the scheme, professional support to local bodies for planning, implementation and monitoring was to be done. Moreover, in order to strengthen panchayat and municipality level governance with more appropriate capacity building and participatory planning, training programmes were to be held in all these districts.
However sources said that the department adopted a lackadaisical approach in implementing the scheme. When the minister came to know about the scandal, some officers allegedly made desperate efforts to hush it up, the sources said.